At some point, everyone with a pool table has played a game by rolling the cue ball with their hand instead of using a cue stick. Without knowing it, they’re playing a miniature version of Knokkers, only the real game is played on a table four times the size of a regulation pool table, and is a new sport that combines playing pool with bowling.
Knokkers was invented in 1985 by Steve Wienecke, of Fredericktown, Missouri. While playing in a local pool league, he got it in his head one night that it would be great to actually play while standing on the table. The idea knocked about his noggin until 2008. The prototype for Knokkers was built in his backyard, using donated railway ties, gravel and concrete. At first Steve’s wife thought he was crazy, but as his idea began to take shape, she encouraged him to follow his dream. Knokker tables use the same dimensions of a regulation pool table, only scaled up four times. Knokker balls currently are only regular bowling bowls painted to look like pool balls.
The break is taken from behind the scratch line on the playing surface, with shots taken by pushing (bowling) the cue ball to knock the balls into the pockets using direct shots or the rail, only without a pool cue. Just like normal pool, whoever pockets the first ball determines who plays solids and who plays stripes.
The game is played pretty much like standard 8-ball, the only real difference is that before your shot, you’re allowed to pick up and move the cue ball, although you’re not allowed to move your feet once you’ve touched it.
Steve is currently working with private investors to design and develop a portable version that will include more durable 6-pound balls that can stand up to the constant collisions of regular play.